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North Castle to Hold Hearing, Eyes Upgrades at Problem Intersection

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The Town of North Castle will hold a public hearing later this month regarding potential safety upgrades at a problematic Armonk intersection that prompted more than 80 residents to appeal to town officials for improvements.

A July 27 hearing has been scheduled to solicit feedback from residents on a proposed reconfiguration of the Cox Avenue-School Street intersection. In May, town officials also talked about the possibility of adding a stop sign to make the intersection a three-way stop and relocating another so it is even with the stop line that is painted on the pavement.

This spring traffic consultant Michael Galante recommended that the intersection become a more conventional T-intersection, Police Chief Peter Simonsen told the Town Board two months ago. Currently, it is a wide, irregularly shaped crossing where most motorists fail to signal when turning onto School Street.

“For today’s use, the shape of the intersection creates a problem by virtue of a pattern of the behavior of the motorists traveling at too high a rate of speed through the intersection,” Simonsen said.

Simonsen had said residents’ concerns over speeding cars wasn’t proven out by Galante’s study but there are other difficulties with the road. The town stepped up traffic enforcement details and installed radar speed signs, but the speed for the road was fairly significant. While the speed limit on town roads is 30 miles per hour, the curve near 90 Cox Ave. makes a 25- to 28-mile-per-hour speed too fast, Simonsen said.

Galante’s study also showed that traffic volume is its highest during the morning rush hour at about 400 vehicles an hour. However, for most of the rest of the day, there are 200 cars or less that go through the intersection. Those counts are important because if there are 300 or more cars an hour over an eight-hour period, that would mandate a stop sign, Simonsen said.

In the spring, the Town Board decided to go ahead with a public hearing to receive public input on the proposed improvements even though it appears that there is strong public support to make the upgrades. The board is required to schedule a hearing for the stop sign.

“It’s a significant change at that intersection,” said Supervisor Michael Schiliro. “I think it’s a positive change, but I would not want to have everything be done and then residents come say ‘Why didn’t you tell us we were doing this. We don’t really like what you did.’”

Councilman Jose Berra had said that improvements are desperately needed in that area.

“We’re really lucky that nothing’s happened there but it is particularly treacherous and an accident could happen at some point in time,” he said.

Simonsen said the improvements, should they occur, don’t appear to be as expensive as other road improvement projects. However, if the work isn’t done, the issue won’t likely go away.

“I think the traffic volume over time will continue to increase and I think that this is an improvement that I think we should pursue,” he said.

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